- Kathleen Ferrier Award
The Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Scholarship Fund was founded in 1953 in memory of
Kathleen Ferrier, the much-loved contralto from Lancashire. Ferrier died at the tragically young age of 41, resulting in her career as a singer lasting just 12 years.
The Kathleen Ferrier Award is now a prestigious contest for
Operasingers held each April in London, England. The first competition was held in 1956 and it has continued to provide a few outstandingly talented young singers each year since then with the opportunity of making a start in what is a most difficult and demanding career. Since that first competition, some changes have been made and the competition now offers three prizes, a 1st Prize of £10,000, a 2nd Prize of £5,000 and a Song Prize of £2,500, plus there is an MBF Accompanist’s prize, provided in 2005 by Arthur & Gwyneth Harrison. The competition is open to singers of any nationality who have completed at least one year of study at a UK conservatoire or with a recognised vocal coach in the UK. They must be under 29 years of age at the time of the final audition. Pianists competing for the accompanist’s award must also be under 29.
The initial appeal for a memorial fund was launched by Sir John Barbirolli, Roy Henderson, Gerald Moore, Sir Malcolm Sargent and Hamish Hamilton. The purpose of the fund was to make an annual award to a young British singer sufficient to cover the cost of a year’s study and general support. Proceeds from a book “Kathleen Ferrier – a Memoir”, put together by some of her friends and colleagues, was used to start the fund.
From the beginning the Fund was supported by Kathleen’s many friends and admirers from around the world. Donations, covenants and legacies have helped raise and maintain the prizes at their current level. In particular there were regular donations from the RVW Trust and from Decca, who sponsored a prize from 1978 to 1998. More recently Mrs. Lise Rueff Seligman was an enthusiastic contributor and faithful attendee of the finals at the Wigmore Hall until her death in 2003. The Fund is currently supported by generous donations from two of its Trustees but further donations and legacies are still urgently sought if the Fund is to continue offering financial support at its current level.
* Sir Thomas Allen CBE
* Dr. Sheila Armstrong
* Valerie Beale
* Vernon Ellis
* Catherine Goode
* Sir Nicholas Goodison
* Graham Johnson OBE
* Yvonne Kenny AM
* Joan Rodgers CBE
* John Shirley-Quirk CBE
* Paul Strang (Chairman)
* Martin B. M. Williams
The 2008 prize winners were as follows:
First Prize (£10,000) Ben Johnson, Second Prize (£5,000) Alexander Robin Baker, Song Prize (£4,000) Ida Falk Winland, Accompantist's Prize (£3,000) James Southall. Reviews of this year's semi-finals & finals can be found on Times Online, Musical Pointers, Classical Source & Music Web International.
* [http://www.ferrierawards.org.uk/ Kathleen Ferrier Award official site]
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